Enhancing Lights with Photoshop in just 1 Minute

One of the most common barriers for photographers to enter the world of Composite Photography is they simply don’t know where to begin, and the more complicated the Composite idea is, the harder it is to get started.

It doesn’t have to be that way as you will see in today’s Photoshop in a Minute Tutorial where I show you how to Enhance Lights in just 1 Minute.

Even though I create Concept Sketches, plan out my shot lists, and visualize the process of creating an Amazing Composite, I often struggle with being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start.

Do you want to know how I overcome that and get started?

The Santa Composite

To give you a reference of the Portrait I’ll be working on today, here’s a finished sample of the Composite I call “Oops! I Farted”.

Ha! Just checking to see if you were paying attention.

composite photography portrait of santa clause created by dallas portrait photographer jason ulsrud

I actually call this Composite “MOM! It’s Santa”, mostly because I remember as a kid trying to stay up all night to see if Santa was real.

Let this Portrait be PROOF that Santa is definitely real.

On the surface, this Composite Portrait appears to be rather simple, and when I started my Portrait Process with my sketch, I thought it would be too.

santa composite sketch

santa composite shot list

Just so you know, I only sketched this Concept out on a Post-It Note because this Portrait was for internal use only and not for a paying client.

Anyhoo… After breaking into this Composite a little more, I quickly realized it was a much bigger project than first expected and required me to capture images of the many small details throughout the Portrait.

I even had my wife have one of her kids at school handwrite a letter to Santa for authenticity.

A Much Needed Enhancement

Photographing and Compositing the Christmas Lights was supposed to be easy, and I was sure I knew what I was doing.


original photo of christmas lights

I thought by photographing the lights on the surface, of what I was using to be my studio floor, would make for easy extraction, and having them lit would reduce my Photoshop time.

The exact opposite happened.

photoshop extraction of christmas lights

First, I had to completely extract the Christmas Lights from its background, and that meant knocking out every small detail between the individual wires.

While this took some time, I’ve been doing extractions for a while now and I’ve gotten pretty fast at it.

Additionally, while having the lights lit did come through in the original image, it clearly didn’t have the POP I wanted, so I had to work my Photoshop Magic to give my lights a much-needed Enhancement.

That’s a Wrap

The entire point of this article and the Photoshop in a Minute Tutorial on Enhancing Lights is to help you realize many of these mysterious things I do to create Awesome Composites can be quite easy and fast.

Now, do you want to know the BEST way to get started with your Composite?

Just START!!!

I have found, even though I have no idea where to start a Composite Project, the very act of just starting begins revealing the steps I need to take to make my Composite look Awesome.

You will never know what steps to take until after you take your first one.

What STEPS are you going to take RIGHT NOW to get started on your Amazing Composite Idea?

Comments (2)

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Cool. Thanks for stopping by and checking it out.

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